People Just Do Nothing: Big in Japan (2021) – spoiler free review
I was quite late getting into People Just Do Nothing. Didn’t see a single episode until Series 3 when I happened to catch some on TV – actually quite a legendary episode where they ‘GO STUDIO’ and I reeeeally liked it.
It’s not very often you – and especially me – see or hear something and just love it straight away, but that was the case with People Just Do Nothing. I loved it so much I bought the DVDs, went to see them live (in Camden like a cool person might do) and bought the t-shirt. I actually did buy a t-shirt when I saw them live. Keep it Kurupt.
I’m fussy with comedy – I mean plenty of things make me laugh a bit but not much makes me want to buy the boxset and not since The Office (UK original I hasten to add, not the grotesque US version that’s dragged on since the bronze age it feels like) had I seen a new comedy series I enjoyed THAT much. Only thing close is Inside No.9 but that’s less classic laughs (despite the hilarious dialogue as ever from Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith) and I don’t think of it as a ‘comedy’ comedy series, just pure genius. In passing.
People Just Do Nothing is as comedy as it gets. It’s clever, hilarious and absolutely spot on. It’s well acted, well written and about as perfect as humanly possible. Of course some episodes are better than others but considering they made five series they did manage to keep a decent standard throughout. I’m not usually keen on things that keep running and running and running and running….. (though I am still watching The Walking Dead but that’s mainly because I’m in love with Negan)….Most things just seem better when they end on a high, however in this instance they did pretty well.
The story is basically just a bunch of friends – led by the delusional, selfish and utterly (but unintentionally) hilarious Grindah, as they struggle to run a pirate radio station and find purpose in their lives. The station frequency just about reaches all the flats in the tower block they perform from – so you can gather how ‘bigtime’ they are. The whole thing is done in mockumentary style and it’s apparent from the start how The Office was an influence to the writers, who also star in the show.
And that’s it really, described in its most simplified form. But what makes People Just Do Nothing really, really special – and something else that The Office got just right – is creating real, three dimensional characters. People you love because you can see they’ve got such a good heart under their tracksuit (Beats), people you feel exasperated with because they’re such a delusional, rude twat but clearly insecure too (Grindah) and then others you might even worry about (Steves obviously). And because there’s five series, there’s lots of time to explore these characters and get to know them even better. Leading from television to the movie of course.
I went to see the film in August at the cinema and I loved it. It was great – hilarious, poignant and it fulfilled all my wishes and more. To be honest I don’t really want to say much more about it (great review I know) because what can I say? It was really fucking good and a fitting ending and though perhaps it might not have the complete re-watchability of the television show I’d say that’s only because the series were so good with so many stand out episodes. A movie based on a TV show is always going to be hard, but they definitely cracked it. It was really, really good.
And what I will say is this – *now listen it’s important* – if you want to watch this film then ensure you have watched the television series first because trust me, you’ll get more from it. The film is hilarious, quotable and I had genuine tears of laughter rolling down my cheeks before Miche and Grindah had even left Pitsea – but it does concentrate (as it always has to some degree) on the emotional, vulnerable side of the characters and the turmoil they face. The whole thing is stronger, not to mention far more memorable for that reason and by knowing the characters, you root for them and feel that real genuine affection which makes the film – and their happy ending – that bit more special.